PERF08058 2019 Irish Theatre 'Then and Now'

General Details

Full Title
Irish Theatre 'Then and Now'
Transcript Title
Irish Theatre 'Then and Now'
80 %
Subject Area
PERF - Performing Arts
YADA - Yeats Academy Art Dsgn & Arch
08 - NFQ Level 8
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Tom Weir, Una Mannion, Declan Drohan, Rhona Trench
Programme Membership
SG_APERF_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Performing Arts

This module explores the development of Irish theatre since before the foundation of the State to contemporary Irish theatre. Particular reference will be paid to key creative practitioners, texts, and the programme of productions at the turn of the last century and also productions running at the time of module delivery. Through lectures and talks with guest practitioners (designers, directors, playwrights, actors, etc), learners gain an understanding of creative directions and challenges in historical as well as contemporary Irish theatre. In seminars, current scholarship and critical methodologies in relation to the study of the texts explored, from postcolonial, feminist, and historicist to generic and performative. Playwrights might include W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, Teresa Deevy, Marina Carr, Christina Reid, Thomas Kilroy, Conor McPherson, Thomas Murphy, Enda Walsh, Martin McDonagh, , Vincent Woods, Michelle Read, Christian O'Reilly, for example; directors might include Patrick Mason, Gary Hynes, Lynne Parker, Michael Keegan Dolan; designers might include, Monica Frawley, Frank Hallinan‑Flood, Joe Vanek.

Students will also write a flash play as a way of understanding dramaturgy, structure, plot, characterisation and so on. 

Students will make a pitch to direct an Irish play as a way of demonstrating their position as a practitioner entering into the artistic industry at the end of this semester

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


undertake primary and secondary research in relation to theatre practice in Ireland


produce informed critical responses (oral and written) to performances and texts studied


design and deliver oral presentation on professional theatre practitioner or company in Ireland


demonstrate critical analysis and ability to apply critical methodolgies as interpretative strategies


produce academic essay capturing primary and secondary research undertaken, critical analysis and ability to synthesise and interpret findings


demonstrate professionalism and resourcefulness in undertaking primary research, communicating with external groups and presenting research in a public forum

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Courses are taught through lectures, seminars, smaller group‑teaching, and student's presentation of research and shared learning.

Module Assessment Strategies

Project (funding application, director's pitch, flash play) 30%

Term essay 30%

Individual presentations and demonstrations a given issue twice over the semester 20% 

Course Contribution (attendance, contribution to in-class discussion, research shown) 20%

Repeat Assessments

Repeat project

Indicative Syllabus

Learners will demonstrate and understanding of theatre practice in Ireland through an examination of playwrights, designers, directors, theatre companies, and the art of playwriting.

Learners will explore their practice within the context of an Irish cultural identity - cultural nationalism, questions of 'Irishness' and instability of referent, memory, subjectivity and gender. 

In the context of contemporary cultural concerns, learners will examine issues such as post‑colonialism, recession, addiction, the Catholic Church, emigration, immigration, gender & sexuality, post‑colonialism.

Through critical methodologies, learners will examine works and performances from the point of view of feminism, historicism, post‑colonialism, performance and genre theories.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Individual presentations and demonstrations twice per semester Continuous Assessment Assessment 20 % OnGoing 1,2,4
2 Term Essay Project Assignment 30 % End of Term 1,2,3,5
3 Project - funding/flash play/director's pitch Continuous Assessment Assessment 30 % OnGoing 1,3,6
4 Course contribution (attendance, contribution to in-class discussion and research) Continuous Assessment Assessment 20 % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Flat Classroom Lecture 1 Weekly 1.00
Tutorial Flat Classroom seminar 2 Weekly 2.00
Directed Learning Flat Classroom professional practice 1 Weekly 1.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
01/01/2009 Contemporary Irish Theatre Palgrave Macmillan

Required Reading
01/01/2010 Modern Irish Drama: W.B. Yeats to Marina Carr Syracuse University Press

Required Reading
2010-07-30 Theatre and Ireland Red Globe Press
ISBN 0230574629 ISBN-13 9780230574625

What is the significance of theatre and performance within Irish culture and history? How do we understand the impact and political potential of Irish theatre? This innovative survey of theatre in Ireland covers a range of drama and performance, from the 17th century to the present. Expanding the field of Irish theatre to include mumming, wake games, prison protests and theatre riots, the book argues that Ireland's longstanding association with performance illuminates key aspects of its cultural history and politics. Foreword by Fiona Shaw

Required Reading
2001 Theatre and the State in Twentieth-century Ireland Psychology Press
ISBN 0415069394 ISBN-13 9780415069397

This major new study presents a political and cultural history of some of Ireland's key national theatre projects from the 1890s to the 1990s. Impressively wide-ranging in coverage, Theatre and the State in Twentieth-Century Ireland: Cultivating the People includes discussions on: *the politics of the Irish literary movement at the Abbey Theatre before and after political independence; *the role of a state-sponsored theatre for the post-1922 unionist government in Northern Ireland; *the convulsive effects of the Northern Ireland conflict on Irish theatre. Lionel Pilkington draws on a combination of archival research and critical readings of individual plays, covering works by J. M. Synge, Sean O'Casey, Lennox Robinson, T. C. Murray, George Shiels, Brian Friel, and Frank McGuinness. In its insistence on the details of history, this is a book important to anyone interested in Irish culture and politics in the twentieth century.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Brown, Terence, Ireland: A Social and Cultural History 1922 1985 (London: Fontana Press, 1985)
Chambers, Lillian and Jordan, Eamonn, (eds.), The Theatre of Conor McPherson: Right beside the Beyond, (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2012)
Chambers, Lillian, Fitzgibbon, Ger & Jordan, Eamonn, (eds.), Theatre Talk: Voices of Irish Theatre Practitioners, (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2001)
Coulter, Colin and Coleman, Steve (eds.) The End of History?: Critical Reflections on the Celtic Tiger (Manchester University Press, 2003)
Creegan, David, Frank McGuinness's Dramaturgy of Difference and the Irish Theatre , (Peter Lang 2010)
Creegan, David (ed.) Deviant Acts : Essays on Queer Performance, (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2009)
De Valera, Eamon, Speeches and Statements by Eamon de Valera, 1917 73, (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1980)
Etherton, Michael, Contemporary Irish Dramatists (Basingstoke: Macmillan Education, 1989)
Frazier, Adrian, Behind the Scenes: Yeats, Horniman and the Struggle for the Abbey Theatre (Berkeley: California University Press, 1990)
Furay, Julia and O'Hanlon, Redmond (eds.) Critical Moments: Fintan O'Toole on Modern Irish Theatre (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2003)
Graham, Colin, Deconstructing Ireland: Identity, Theory, Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001)
Gregory, Augusta, Lady Our Irish Theatre: A Chapter of Autobiography (Gerrards Cross: Smythe, 1972)
Grene, Nicholas, The Politics of Irish Drama: plays in context from Boucicault to Friel (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
Harrington, John P. (ed.) Modern Irish Drama (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1991)
Jordan, Eamonn, Dissident Dramaturgies, (Contemporary Irish Theatre, (Irish Academic Press, 2010)
Jordan, Eamonn (ed.) Theatre Stuff: Critical Essays on Contemporary Irish Theatre (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2000)
Kirkpatrick, Kathryn, (ed.) Border Crossings: Irish Women Writers and National Identities (University of Alabama Press, 2000)
Leeney, Cathy and McMullan, Anna, (eds.), The Theatre of Marina Carr "before rules was made", (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2003)
Leeney, Cathy, Irish Women Playwrights 1900 1939 Gender and Violence on Stage, (New York: Peter Lang, 2010)
Lewellyn Jones, Margaret, Contemporary Irish Drama & Cultural Identity (Bristol: Intellect, 2002)
Lonergan, Patrick, Theatre and Globalisation: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
Lonergan, Patrick and O'Dwyer, Riana (eds.), Echoes Down the Corridor, (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2007)
Maples, Holly, Culture War: Conflict, Commemoration and the Contemporary Abbey Theatre, (Peter Lang, 2011)
Murray, Christopher, Twentieth Century Irish Drama: Mirror to a Nation (Manchester University Press, 1997)
Murphy, Paul, Hegemony and Fantasy in Irish Drama, 1899 1949 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
Richtarik, Marilynn J., Acting between the Lines: The Field Day Theatre Company (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994)
Richards, Shaun, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth Century Irish Drama, (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
Sihra, Melissa (ed.), Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation, (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)Sihra, Melissa. Marina Carr: Singleton, Brian. Masculinities and the Contemporary Irish Theatre. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)Pastures of the Unknown. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)Sweeney, Bernadette, Performing the Body in Irish Theatre, (UK, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
Trench, Rhona, Bloody Living: The Loss of Selfhood in the Plays of Marina Carr (Peter Lang, 2010)
Trench, Rhona, Staging Thought: Essays on Irish Theatre, Scholarship and Practice, (Peter Lang 2011)
Walsh, Fintan, Queer Notions: New Plays and Performances from Ireland, (Dubin: Carysfort Press, 2010)
Weitz, Eric (ed.), The Power of Laughter: Comedy and Contemporary Irish Theatre, (Dublin; Carysfort Press, 2004)
Weitz, Eric, The Cambridge Introduction to Comedy, (Cambridge University Press, 2009)  

Journal Resources

All journals relevant to this subject are available on JSTOR database in IT Sligo library

URL Resources

Irish Playography - -

Podcast by Rise Productions -

Abbey theatre archive -

Druid theatre archive -

Project gutenberg -

RTE Arena podcast -

Other Resources

Blue Raincoat Theatre library, Quay Road, Sligo.